ART QUOTES: Ivan Albright

captain-joseph-medill-patterson-1964

Ivan Albright “Captain Joseph Medill Patterson”

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“A painting should be a piece of philosophy-or why do it?”

-Ivan Albright

He painted reality with such intensity it became hallucinatory. His obsessive details, painstakingly methodical methods, and preoccupations with darkness and decay led to a low output of paintings and a small audience of admirers. But Ivan Albright (1897-1983) was a true American original, a visionary painter of the uneasy melding of body and spirit in our fallen world.

He saw horrors first hand as a medical illustrator during World War One. He spent the rest of his life seeking to perfect his skills, always striving to bring greater focus and forceful presence to his paintings.

He had a brush with Hollywood fame, rendering a ghoulish Technicolor monster for the climax  of Oscar award winning film “The Picture of Dorian Gray” (1945).

dorian-gray-by-ivan-albright-1943

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But mostly Albright worked on his own private concerns, using a palette the color of bruises, ashes, and mold, with imagery that was resolved with almost microscopic intensity.

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Ivan Albright “Woman”

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Joe Coleman "Albert Fish"
Joe Coleman “Albert Fish”

Contemporary artists like Joe Coleman may strive to follow in the master’s traditions, but they always straddle the finely rendered line between homage and mere imitiation.

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In addition to creating stunning paintings, Albright contributed his own taciturn kind of wisdom to art and life. The consistency of his ideas make sense alongside his paintings. His quotes have the same kind of deadpan existential fascination as his visual creations.

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“Actually one place is just as good as another for me. Traveling around the world wouldn’t move me any more than sitting right here in my studio. It’s the meaning that you bring to your painting that’s important. Nature herself can only go as far as your mind can bring it.”

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“The artist must be the human reservoir for all emotions, all thoughts, all kindness, cruelty, pain, joy.”

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“Paint the dancing sun beams – in this case shadow beams – all is a unit – all is one… The bit of universe is repeating itself and moving in a circle… the universe within your studio walls… Study it, penetrate it… painting it as a ball of motion. Everything is included in it. Its motion includes time, also life and death. In its movement it’s on its way to eternity.”

-Ivan Albright

Window

Ivan Albright “Poor Room-There is No Time, No End, No Today, No Yesterday, No Tomorrow, Only the Forever, and Forever and Forever Without End”

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Ida

Ivan Albright “Into the World There Came a Soul Called Ida”

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selfportraitsmoking

Ivan Albright “Self Portrait Smoking” 

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12 thoughts on “ART QUOTES: Ivan Albright

  1. Profound expressions through painting.

    “Actually one place is just as good as another for me. Traveling around the world wouldn’t move me any more than sitting right here in my studio. It’s the meaning that you bring to your painting that’s important. Nature herself can only go as far as your mind can bring it.” This is so true, regardless of the medium an artist chooses. There is more to be found in the mundane, the everyday, than in the exotic, the spectacular.

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